The Database of the Jewish Museum Meran comprises more than 5.000 entries on Jews living in South Tyrol in the course of 150 years. They came out of professional reasons to the expanding health ressort with its many international visitors. Such wealthy public was not to be found neither in Innsbruck, nor in Munich. But also health reasons were relevant for Jewish immigrants to Meran, especially to patients of the Jewish sanatorium like Markus Krys or the sisters Popelik, who remained in Meran after their health treatment. Markus Krys and the sisters Popelik were murdered in the Shoah. Among the patients were also the writer David Vogel or the editor Ludwig Goldscheider. Another reason, why Jewish physicians came to Meran, was the strong antisemitism, which made it very difficult to find work in Vienna for example, and anti-Jewish pogroms in eastern European countries. For wealthy people the climate, the southern flair and a German speaking ambience in the vicinity of the Italian cultural area.
The lives of hundreds of Jewish families living here permanently or transitionally on their escsape changed drastically after the introduction of the racial laws in autumn 1938. Neither did Italian nor German speaking neighbours, who were now distinguished as „Arians“, refrain from taking profit from the affliction of the persecuted. In South Tyrol there was no difference to the shameless happenings in Germany and in Austria. Mainly German speaking inhabitants of South Tyrol, however, excluded Jewish merchants from enterprises, which they had led to success, embarrassed them in public or defamed Jewish lawyers. Neither the protestant community in Merano nor the catholic church assisted the helpless. Still today the exploit under the racial laws, with villas, furniture, valuables and goods of expelled Jewish merchants is often suppressed. The arrival of the Gestapo, the SS and the SD in South Tyrol in September 1943 brought the entire annihilation and murder.
Link to the commemorative book on the Jewish community in Merano written by Sabine Mayr and Joachim Innerhofer:
Mörderische Heimat. Verdrängte Lebensgeschichten jüdischer Familien in Bozen und Meran
Edition Raetia, Bozen/Bolzano, 2015,
Quando la patria uccide. Storie ritrovate di famiglie ebraiche in Alto Adige
Edition Raetia, Bozen/Bolzano, 2016,